Working Progress phase 1 evaluation (2016-2019)

Project Details


The research seeks to utilise prior academic knowledge and the research data gathered over the past three years of the Working Progress project in relation to the employment of people furthest away from labour market, including: carers, people with SEND, people over 50 and people from BME communities. This data will be combined with the University’s Social Impact Matrix, to develop a valid, robust and holistic evaluation framework for the intervention delivered by Working Progress. In doing so it seeks to answer the following specific research aims and questions:

Research Aim 1: To explore and understand the beneficiary experience of the scheme. Including:
Q1: Who were the main beneficiaries of the scheme and what barriers had they experienced in relation to employment?
Q2: What were participants’ views/impressions of the scheme?
Q3: How far has Working Progress improved the knowledge and confidence of its participants whilst equipping them with the necessary skills and qualifications to seek employment?
Research Aim 2: To assess the efficacy of Working Progress in working with its partners and participants with complex needs. Including:
Q4: How flexible and responsive have Working Progress’ range of support activity’s been in meeting the individual needs of its client groups?
Q5: How successfully have Working Progress utilised the expertise and delivery experience of Northamptonshire’s VCSE sector who are firmly embedded in the county and have a thorough understanding of the target beneficiaries?
Q6: How have Working Progress reviewed and developed good practice throughout the project?
Q7: How successfully have Working Progress engaged with those who are hard to reach and may have complex needs (as specified in the KPIs)?
Research Aim 3: Evaluate the impact of the project for participant VSCEs, local employers and target beneficiaries. Including:
Q8: What has been the social impact of the Working Progress project?
Q9: What learning can be disseminated amongst the VCSE sector and local employers in the county from this scheme?

The project is part of the Building Better Opportunities (BBO) programme and is funded by European Social Fund and the Big Lottery Fund.

Layman's description

This research examines the impact of BBO on participants including wellbeing, self-efficacy, employability, securing and maintaining employment. It focuses on support for people who are furthest away from the labour market, including: carers, people with SEND, people over 50 and people from BME communities.

Key findings

The Working Progress performed strongly by enabling participants to build confidence and self-esteem, find employment and maintain employment for longer periods of time. Indeed, BBO Working Progress has in its three years of delivery:

•Engaged with 494 individuals including: long-term unemployed, individuals with physical and mental health needs and ex-offenders.
•Supported 86 individuals into employment (17.4% reemployment rate).
•Helped 69 ex-offenders to not offend.
•Provided training opportunities to participants around general employability (i.e. CV writing skills and job search), interview skills, confidence building, wellbeing, English classes, IT classes, social media safety and volunteering.
•Had significant impacts on participant’s personal confidence, health, life skills, life stability and social mobility.
•Created an estimated social impact of nearly £2,052,000.

The report identifies that to support clients effectively on their journey to employment, there is a need to consider softer outcomes such as self-confidence, self-esteem, positive self-belief, trust and motivation. Furthermore, the report identifies the importance of considering the participants journey of change alongside service delivery, development and partnership working.
Effective start/end date1/08/161/08/19


  • Employment
  • Impact
  • Social Change
  • Vulnerability
  • COVID-19
  • Employability P{rogramme
  • Wellbeing
  • Confidence
  • Self-Efficacy


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